We recently moved Otto into Otis' old room. Otis had this wooden display unit on his wall for his minerals and fossils. I've been thinking about ways to display Schleich animals and thought we would try using this display unit for some of Otto's animals. It works, Otto loves playing with them and always tries to return them to the little cubby holes. Otto loves to point and name the animals too. Schleich animals really beautiful, why not put them on display? Here are a few other ideas I love for displaying Schleich animals... Above the animals are on a... Read more →

It's been raining here for days. Although I am a huge advocate for getting outdoors no matter the weather, we've definitely been spending more time indoors. But what to do with a toddler indoors? No need to google indoor play activities, just look around you. Practical life is all around us, often in the weirdest of places. Best of all once you have engaged the child, it's likely they will be busy for quite a while. Who said toddlers can't concentrate? Above Otto is chopping some peeled apple, before that he chopped up some cheese. Absolutely none of it made... Read more →

Montessori looks different in every home, so today I want to share a collection of posts from other families with children at the same age as Otto. Here are a few experiences and activities other families have enjoyed with their children at 16 months: On our shelves at 16 months at Our Montessori Journey Montessori Inspired Work at 16 Months at This Merry Montessori. Our Montessori Routine at 16 Months of Age at Mama's Happy Hive. Activities at 16 Months at Nduoma. Introducing Language Work at Montessori in Real Life. Dakota in this post is 16 months old. Montessori in... Read more →

Caspar and Otis' school is also a boarding school so it doesn't technically close for a snow day. But our driveway was full of snow and rather than walk to school we decided to stay home. It was only the third or fourth time we've actually seen snow falling and we soaked up every minute. Otto was amazed and delighted!! Last time it snowed he was only a few months old. We went for a walk earlier in the day with Otto in his snow gear but he was so uncomfortable and wouldn't keep his gloves on. Every time he... Read more →

I recently received an email from an Australian parent unable to find the crinkle cutter locally. No matter where you live, these are not easy to find. Look in little independent kitchen stores. It can help if you are able to choose one in person rather than online. Although you may find one type popular online, in person I've seen families use a whole range of different crinkle cutters, there is no one brand that is endorsed or labelled as Montessori. I first used a crinkle cutter with Caspar back in 2011. I received it as part of a pack... Read more →

Today I'm sharing a few of the art activities that we've recently used with Otto (16 months). We have three of these activities/trays out at one time. We have paint (with brushes, textured wands, sponges) and often dot markers to use on the art easel which we keep outside. We also have a large blackboard outside that is fantastic for gross motor skills. All of these activities require close supervision. For art trays at this age I'm looking for activities that use the child's fine motor skills but also that involve lots of different textures and colour or contrast. For... Read more →

When children are using nesting materials they aren't simply playing or building they are experimenting, they are problem-solving, they are developing critical thinking skills!! Nesting materials are so incredibly easy to find and they provide exceptional learning opportunities. We love to use nesting materials as they can help support and develop: dexterity and fine motor skills counting skills gross motor skills - especially in larger materials like the large wooden nesting boxes. awareness of shapes and size grasp and release movements visual and spatial perception / visual discrimination hand-eye coordination opportunities for crossing the midline concentration language - 'pass', 'in',... Read more →

I recently read some notes from a speech that Susan Mayclin Stephenson gave titled "Montessori, Education for the Future". She spoke about ten skills that are and will be, vital. These ten skills are all fostered and supported in a Montessori environment. These ten skills are so essential, it's really worth sharing them with you today. These skills are all evident from the first few days of life and can be fostered in the home as much as in any school or nido. With a little awareness, we can bring these skills to all of our babies, toddlers and, children.... Read more →

I love the Montessori approach to wall art. Nothing too busy, distracting or overwhelming. Just simple and beautiful. In children's spaces, I like to use images from nature. It's a part of the Montessori approach to expose the child to reality-based imagery but what is most important to me is that the images are inspiring, uplifting, captivating. I want for my children to see the possibilities of the world, to want to explore the earth, its lands, sky and, oceans. When Otis was a toddler we used the Bits of Intelligence cards for wall art. They are lovely, the background... Read more →

Do you have a Tripp Trapp or similar high chair at home? We still had the baby seat attachment on ours and I found Otto trying to climb into it. It was so precarious. I wasn't sure what to do. Do I let him go and see if he can get in it? Do I tell him no and ask him to get down? I watched him try unsuccessfully to get into the high chair (with the baby seat attachment). It reminds me of how dangerous it is when young children climb in and out of their cribs. There is... Read more →

a. / b. / c. / d. / e. / f. / g. / h. / i. / j. / k. / l. / m. / n. / o. / p. / q. / r. / s. Otto loves containers and jars with screw top lids, he will use them repeatedly. We have lots of containers in his open and close tray but I have been thinking about nut/bolt and screw type toys. They are fantastic for developing coordination, concentration and very importantly wrist and hand strength. I've been looking everywhere for a large wooden nut and bolt (f.) that... Read more →

Otto is sixteen months old, so he is quite a young toddler. He is steady on his feet but there are still many things he is doing for the first time like learning to mop the floor or put on his own shoes. He is fiercely indepenent and wants to do everything himself, but of course he doesn't always have the skill, height or strength to do everything and often needs help. How do we balance the child's need for independence and our need to provide assistance? Set the child up for success - think ahead, plan and observe the... Read more →

Autonomy is the quality or state of being self-governing. It is the freedom to determine one's own actions and behaviour. Autonomous children have the ability to self regulate and become self directed. It is the freedom of self-construction. It is the freedom of choice and the ability to act on those choices. It's not only about being independent, for example the child has the ability to pour their own drink, it is that the child can identify they are thirsty then move, pour themselves a drink and consume it, with independent thought and without barriers. The small child knows they... Read more →

I recently ordered Otto some cube puzzles and when they arrived I realised they were way too advanced for him. I couldn't find any that were simpler so I decided to DIY some! These puzzles are really quick and easy to make. They can be customised to the child's favourite shapes, colours and to their skill level. I used 12 untreated wooden blocks, they are 5cm cubed. I looked at a lot of different sized blocks but feel these were the best size. If I was in Brisbane I would have looked at Reverse Garbage which usually have heaps of... Read more →

There are a lot of really good board books for Montessori toddlers. But right now, with Otto at 16 months, there are two series that really stand out for me! If you have a toddler there is a good chance you have one of these books in your home. If you are a new parent or looking for a gift for a toddler, you can't go wrong with these. At this age (0-3 years) the child is trying to make sense of the environment and the life around them. So we offer not only books that are reality based but... Read more →